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B. schlegelii occurs in a wide range of colors, including red, yellow, brown, green, even pink, as well as various combinations thereof. They often have black or brown speckling on the base color. No external features distinguish the two sexes. Like other Bothriechis members, this species is arboreal, having a strongly prehensile tail. It is largely nocturnal, consuming small rodents, frogs, lizards and small birds. They are not known to be an aggressive snake, but will not hesitate to strike if harassed.
These small vipers are common in the low land rain forests of Costa Rica, and we can often find the same individual at the same spot during 1 or 2 weeks. This is how the species is the most photographed viper in the country, and perhaps in whole central america.